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COP27: African actors in Dakar Declaration on sustainable mobility, climate change

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
10 October 2022   |   2:41 am
Representatives of local and regional authorities and non-state actors from Africa have reaffirmed their commitment and decisive role of local action to develop sustainable mobility

Representatives of local and regional authorities and non-state actors from Africa have reaffirmed their commitment and decisive role of local action to develop sustainable mobility, as well as mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences.

The participants met in Dakar, Senegal in a five-day summit, organised by Climate Chance before the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) in Egypt, where the financing of adaptation, loss and damage will be at the heart of the negotiations, noted the importance of developing large-scale actions on the African continent.

Nigerian Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that climate change is a real threat to all continents. Warming of more than 1.5°C will have serious and irreversible impacts, limiting the capacity to adapt and seriously threatening the balance of both natural ecosystems and human societies.

The experts reaffirmed priorities that they wish to see placed at the heart of the COP 27 debates, recalling that climate change is a direct threat to world peace, in particular through the food and energy insecurity that it generates.

They said: “Africa is particularly affected by warming for which it is not responsible. Financing, commensurate with the issues at stake, for adaptation policies and for the loss and damage of the most vulnerable countries must therefore be a priority for the international community and for the highest greenhouse gas emitting countries.

According to them, “climate action policies can only succeed if they take into account social justice and issues of gender, integrating the needs of the most excluded groups, particularly indigenous peoples, young people and women, who are the bearers of solutions that are highly adapted to local realities.

“At a time when the UN has just recognised the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right, we recall the need for coherence and synergy between the Climate Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

They also stressed the importance of taking into account and financing the proposals drawn up at the desertification COP in Abidjan and the opportunities offered by nature, both in adaptation and carbon capture policies.

In this sense, “the preservation and strengthening of mangrove belts and forest cover are major challenges, requiring the mobilisation of all the actors concerned, indigenous peoples and local populations, local elected officials, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and economic sectors.”

In a few years, a majority of the African population will live in cities, especially coastal ones. Sustainable urban development and the organisation of city networks in a political framework of proactive local planning is therefore a central issue for both adaptation and emission reduction.

The experts reiterated the recommendations of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)-Africa, highlighted in the Africities declaration in Kisumu: the importance of strengthening decentralisation based on autonomous tax revenues and land control and of having coherent mobility policies.

“Capacity building of local and regional authorities is a major challenge and we reaffirm the importance of the Covenant of Mayor’s initiative on climate change, supported by the European Union, which should concern both megacities and medium-sized cities, which are a neglected asset for the implementation of efficient solutions,” they said.

To strengthen the consideration of local action, and its inclusion in nationally determined contributions (NDCs), they advocated the establishment of frameworks for the exchange and monitoring of non-state actors and local authorities for their inclusion in NDCs, on both mitigation and adaptation. “In the same logic, we support the experimentation of locally determined contributions.”